Graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang part of IU Bloomington's first Global Arts and Humanities Festival

  • Jan. 24, 2017


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Comic-book artist and award-winning graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang will present a public talk on issues of diversity, U.S.-Chinese identity, and his career in comic books and other media next month as part of the inaugural Indiana University Bloomington Global Arts and Humanities Festival, called "China Remixed."

Yang is the author of, among other works, "American Born Chinese" (2006), the first graphic novel to be nominated for a National Book Award and the first to win the American Library Association’s Printz Award, and "Boxers & Saints" (2011, 2013), a two-volume graphic novel that won the L.A. Times Book Prize.

In September 2016, Yang received a $625,000 award as a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, a grant commonly known as the MacArthur genius award. In announcing his award, the foundation noted that Yang is "leading the way in bringing diverse characters to children's and young adult literature and confirming comics' place as an important creative and imaginative force within literature and art."

Most recently, Yang is writing the "New Super-Man" series for DC Comics. The first issue, "Made in China (Rebirth)," introduces readers to Kong Kenan, a teenager in Shanghai who inherits Clark Kent's powers. Previously, Yang wrote several issues of "Superman" for DC Comics (2015) and released "The Shadow Hero" (2014), a graphic novel that resurrected the 1940s Green Turtle character, widely considered to be the first Asian-American superhero.

Yang's presentation takes place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 114 E. Kirkwood Ave. in Bloomington. The event is free, but a ticket is required. Yang will do a book signing after the event, and books will be available for sale.

In advance of Yang's appearance, the Arts and Humanities Council is sponsoring a three-session reading group, led by IU Bloomington professors Ellen Wu, Aaron Stalnacker, De Witt Kilgore and John Walsh, as well as the Rev. Patrick Hyde, associate pastor and campus minister at the St. Paul Catholic Center in Bloomington. The reading group starts at 6 p.m. Jan. 31 in the Monroe County Public Library. Copies of Yang's works to be discussed are available at Vintage Phoenix Comic Books, 114 E. Sixth St. For more information about the reading group, contact professor Vivian Halloran at

Yang, a former high school teacher, serves as the fifth National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, a position appointed by the Library of Congress, Children's Book Council and Every Child a Reader. The position was created to raise national awareness of the importance of young people's literature as it relates to literacy, education and improving the lives of young people. Yang also teaches creative writing through Hamline University's MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults.

The Global Arts and Humanities Festival is an initiative of the IU Bloomington Arts and Humanities Council, which was formed as a result of the Bicentennial Strategic Plan for IU Bloomington. Held annually each spring, the festival will focus each year on a different country. The 2017 festival, "China Remixed," focuses on contemporary Chinese arts and culture through dozens of campuswide exhibits, performances, screenings and lectures.

Details and a complete list of "China Remixed" events are available online. Many of the events are free and open to the public, but some require registration or tickets. For more information about Yang's appearance or any of the other "China Remixed" events, contact

Gene Luen Yang

Gene Luen Yang

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